Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

D. Palmer (Ed.). Ethical Issues in E-Business. IGI Global.


As digital media give increasing power to users—power to reproduce, share, remix, and otherwise make use of content—businesses based on content provision are forced to either turn to technological and legal means of disempowering users, or to change their business models. By looking at Lockean and Kantian theories as applied to intellectual property rights, we see that business is not justified in disempowering users in this way, and that these theories obligate e-business to find new business models. Utilitarian considerations support disempowering users in this way in some circumstances and for the time being, but also show that there is a general obligation to move to new business models. On these moral bases, as well as on practical bases, e-business ought to refrain from using the legally permitted strong copyright protections, and should instead find ways of doing business which support, value, and respect the technical capabilities that users have gained.

Original Publication Citation

Wittkower, D.E. (2010). Against strong copyright in e-business. In D. Palmer (Ed.), Ethical issues in e-business: IGI Global.